TORONTO — The Canadian Hockey League has announced that Russian and Belarusian players will be ineligible for selection at its upcoming import draft.

The umbrella organization for the country's three major junior hockey leagues — the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League — made the announcement Wednesday.

The move was considered likely after the CHL condemned in a March 2 statement Russia's invasion of Ukraine with the support of Belarus.

The ban does not include players currently on a CHL protected list.

A total of 85 players were selected at the most recent import draft last June, including a high of 16 from Russia and 11 from Belarus.

The 2022 import draft will be held July 1.

Wednesday's decision is the latest sanction against Russia and Belarus by the international hockey community.

Russian and Belarusian teams have been banned by the International Ice Hockey Federation from its events at all levels until further notice because of the ongoing war in Ukraine. The sport's governing body also removed Russia as host of two major events in 2023 — the world junior championship and world men's championship.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 27, 2022.